I returned from walking with friends at Dyrham Park on Wednesday afternoon to find several young men in my garden. Lucky me, miracles do occur... sometimes ;)
It turned out they were from the group who've been maintaining the public planting on our estate over the past few months and it was the turn of our area to have a tidy up. NAH grabbed the opportunity and asked whether they were including cutting back the old hedgerow at the side of our garden which Mr Treeman last year had told us was unlikely to happen as there's no budget available. As you can see some of it was touching our house and this part of the garden was getting very shady.
It wasn't included but the friendly supervisor agreed to adjust the day's work schedule so it could be. So we now have no branches touching the house, the branch which could have fallen on our heads at any moment is no more and all the vegetation which was overhanging our front and back gardens - like neighbours leaning over the fence to have a chat - has been cut back. Wherever possible the branches have been left on the ground to provide a wildlife habitat and the rest has been chipped and a layer of mulch added to the bankside of the stream near our house.
It turns out the young men are participating in a programme designed to get unemployed people into the workplace. They spend three days a week doing the kind of work we've seen them completing over the past few months, then have a day in college improving their literacy and numeracy skills. They were polite, cheerful and clearly enjoying their work. No matter what I think about the results of some of what they've done with the public planting on the rest of the estate, they've made a good job of maintaining the trees and shrubs on the public land next to our house. Not only that, I have a garden full of light again :)